12.15.10

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Patent Trolls Paul Allen and Jay Walker Will Carry on Trolling

Posted in Patents at 12:58 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Jay Walker
Photo by Steve Jurvetson from Menlo Park, USA

Summary: Traul Allen [sic] insists on winning a ridiculous patent case against companies that just won’t settle out of court; Jay Walker turns from producing to leeching

A FEW days ago Groklaw claimed that Traul Allen’s patent case against the world had been dismissed and it is now more widely confirmed, despite scepticism that prevailed at the time. However, Allen will amend the filing, so it’s not the end of this story (depth of one’s pocket matters most in this legal system which discriminates against the poor). Here is the coverage from Ars Technica:

Microsoft cofounder Paul Allen has hit a snag in his massive patent infringement suit against Apple, Google, Netflix, Facebook, YouTube, and numerous others. US District Judge Marsha Pechman dismissed the lawsuit on Friday, according to court documents, saying that Allen’s company failed to specify infringing products from any of the 11 companies.

Interval Licensing LLC, Allen’s patent holding company, filed the lawsuit in August and accused 11 Internet giants of violating four patents. The patents covered three main concepts: browser use for navigating through information, managing a user’s peripheral attention while using a device, and alerting users to items of current interest. They collectively addressed the general concept of presenting searched-for information to a user along with related news articles, media, status updates from friends, or other data.

Allen is not the only famous person who decided to become infamous by turning into a patent troll. We recently wrote about Jay Walker becoming a patent troll. Is this how he wants to be remembered?

All the way back in 1999, we were already pointing out how Priceline’s Jay Walker was a lot more focused on locking up various ideas via patents than actually building sustainable businesses. Even at the time, “Priceline” was an aggressive patent defender and was really an offshoot of Walker Digital, the firm he set up to hoard patents and to extract money out of actual innovators. Over the years, we’ve noted the various ridiculous patents he’s received. It’s also worth noting that Priceline pretty near tanked under his leadership — once again highlighting the vast difference between idea and execution.

In the next post we’ll show that patenting followed by patent trolling has become popular in the United States and software patents are the weapon of choice, which is why one must care about the matter and its negative impact on innovation.

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